Monday, October 12, 2009

Give-away announcement

Hi Guys! Just wanted to let you know about a giveaway that I found out about this morning. There's a bunch of yarn up for grabs!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Resolutions for October

Okay, we all know how I handle long-term resolutions (like not buying yarn for 6 months). I suck at it, but I think if I set a hand full of goals for a month, maybe I can handle it. I mean, it's only 31 days, how hard can it be, right? RIGHT?

So, here goes:

1 Shocker I know, but the first goal is not to buy any new yarn this month. None. Not even if I decide to make someone a gift that I somehow don't have the yarn for. If it ain't in the stash, it ain't getting made.

2 I will go to the gym three days a week over the course of the next month. I have to take Bean to school anyway, might as well hit the gym while I'm over that way.

3 I will avoid fast food and other crappy selections six days out of the week. If I can handle eating healthy for six days, then I will reward myself on Sunday with the return of No-Rules Sunday (as opposed to my No-Rules Every Day that I currently practice).

I have a couple of other things I would like to add to this list, but I feel I'm being fairly ambitious as it is, so I will save those for a later month. The goal here is to establish habits, so, once these items are habits, then I will build upon them, hopefully resulting in an improved Sarah. I know, I know, how does one improve on perfection? Well, the answer is, with difficulty, my friends! Ha, just kidding, you know better than to believe that I think of myself as perfect. Don't want to be perfect, it's gotta be dreadfully dull, but I would like to feel like I'm a little more put-together as a human being than I currently feel.

So, there you have it. What do you think my odds are?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Babysitters Facebook Updates

SB was awesome about posting on FB while we were in Chicago, so I didn't feel like I had to check in all the time. In fact, I only called at night to say goodnight to Bean, even though she didn't want to come to the phone....I've done my best to remove all of the "real" names, so if you see initials in a comment, it's most likely because I changed it. Other than that, this is completely unedited. I highlighted her name in purple to make it easier to follow. (Just to note, the weekend before taking care of my child, SB was taking care of another friends diabetic cat, I'm telling you, this girl is earning her place in heaven!)

Friday Morning at 12:10


SB - is 17 hours shy of a weekend of MY MISS SB duty... who has started the wager process and what are my odds?
September 25 at 12:10am ·

KD likes this.

BWF
What?
September 25 at 12:27am

SB
Spending the weekend with Bean, a three year old who is confident and clearly a tad territorial
September 25 at 12:40am

BWF
Nice!
September 25 at 12:46am

DA
Can I bet on the little girl?
September 25 at 1:29am

SG
tad territorial? What she is going to pummel you if Barney is not on the tele?
September 25 at 7:17am

CLO
I've seen Miss SB without cigarettes. Ten bucks on withdrawl.

Friday Night at 8:45



SB
: 3-year old asleep (tear free, at that), tree frogs singing, cheesy-melty-shrimpy goodness consumed, cold beer in hand, and the strange echos of hanville high school's (I think) version of friday night lights echoing across the golf course. And... y'all doubted my abilities as a munchkin rangler! I will say that whatever animal making that noise on the colf course (hopefully not in the yard) scares the poop outta me.

BWF
So proud of you! You can come take care of me anytime!!!
September 25 at 9:01pm

SB
You?!?!? You're more high maintenance than the insulin dependent cat!
September 25 at 9:03pm

BWF
Whatever! I am not!!!
September 25 at 9:05pm

Mommy aka ME
Wait 'til the racoons start playing on the roof! I love you!
September 25 at 9:46pm · Delete

Mommy aka ME
Oh, and it's destrehan high school. Go Wildcats!
September 25 at 9:47pm · Delete

SB
I'm sorry, the racoons do what!? Is that why the ladders are there? Ah, hell! Where's the pink gun?
September 25 at 9:47pm

Mommy aka ME
They don't need the ladders. Do you want me to send you the code for the gun locker?
September 25 at 9:56pm · Delete

SB
It is best for everyone if I remain unarmed. PS wildcats beat ehret tonight. They play at lutcher next weekend. Sound really bounces, huh?
September 25 at 10:00pm

CAC
I am loving this country stuff. Pink guns, raccoons, and high school football schedules.
September 25 at 10:48pm

JC
Should we get Bean a Wildcats cheerleading uniform?

Saturday at 8:28am

SB 3-year-old was up at 5:10 and magically convinced to go back to calm mode until 7... I've still got tricks! Today, some place owned by the Audubon Institute, the weather will decide which destination though. (She just looked at metyping and opened her kiddo laptop to get working! Too funny.)
Sat at 8:28am ·

Mommy aka ME
Oh I am so sorry about the early wake up call! Give her smooches from me!Btw, your status update and following comments got many laughs out last night! Love you!
Sat at 8:47am · Delete

RG
Be careful - babies are a contagious disease you catch from their cuteness.

Saturday at 3:22pm

SB
to recap: talked LB out of 5 o'clock wake up call, accomplished AM routine, did basic workout w/additions of an audience & occasional human resistance band, visited fish, attacked play equipment with gusto, ate lunch (at least, looked at the... food meaningfully for a while & ate some of it), picked up 45 pounds of cake ay a Haydel’s without munchkin consuming anything sugary or illustrious caregiver dropping the cake, maintained awake and alert munchkin until arriving home, & convinced her that even though she 'feels better' (not that she felt badly in the first place) a nap was in order. She was asleep before I left the room & I am on my way to power nap. (If you question the need for running munchkin commentary, try leaving your kiddo with a friend for the weekend. You'll appreciate the ability to stay informed without calling to check in!)
Sat at 3:22pm

CAC
I am duly impressed. Actually like running commentary. Would like even more info on 45 lbs of cake.
Sat at 3:28pm

SB
I am bringing it to a baby shower tomorrow. Childcare and a baby shower. Huh. I suddenly feel very grown up. DOn't worry. It will pass.
Sat at 3:31pm

KO
If you need help with Bean, let me know :)
Sat at 3:47pm

SB
Thanks! So far, we're having fun!
Sat at 3:48pm

PRF
I think I need you to babysit me sometime.
Sat at 9:55pm

SB
pay the airfare and buy the liquor (and benddy straws) and I am there!
Sat at 10:14pm

KW
We have bendy straws, lots of strange liquors, movies you can cry over and, best of all, NO ONE under 21!!
Sun at 1:33am

Saturday at 9:22pm

SB
Miz Bean asleep, Big Fish on tv, and I am having a cocktail, eating Easter candy. I have not broken her yet, and I with only fourteen hours of responsibility left I am cautiously optimistic that I will return a high-functioning two-and-a-half year-...old to her parents tomorrow. Of course, there is still time for me to irrepealably damage her psyche...
Sat at 9:29pm ·

SM
reading your updates on this has been one of the highlights of my weekend. I have not laughed this much in a while.
Sat at 9:50pm

SB
Glad you are laughing, because I am crying! The double whammy of the heart wrenching Big Fish ending and the discovery that my dear friends, who not only have a two year old but a fully stocked, built-in bar (and, of course, your illustrious caregiver as a frequent visitor) DO NOT seem to own BENDDY STRAWS! Oh, the indignity of having to lift the glass to my lips and tilt!
Sat at 10:18pm

CAC
You know, you probably should have your own monogramed benddy straws-in pink, naturally. I'd like more detail on the Easter Candy. Are we talking the classic Louisiana confectionery "Elmer's" or have you found something else.
Sat at 10:32pm

SB
better yet (at least this far out of season) I found unloved (or, at least, uneaten and therefore fair game) reeces pieces eggs. second only on my fav list to mini eggs... which have also been spotted... but I am trying to resist!
Sat at 10:34pm

CAC
You have achieved "post-Easter candy in early Autumn" perfection. There really should be an award for this.
Sat at 10:52pm

TB
Should I take this as the level of kidwatching available from Aunt SB in the future?
Sat at 10:59pm

SB
That depends. Do you stock benddy straws?
Sat at 11:01pm

TB
Not only do we have bendy straws...they are umbrella bendy straws! and they come in a variety of colors...
Sat at 11:02pm

SB
And, yes, TB. You get illustrious caregiver usage. But, I am much friendlier when supplied with banddy straws, a zoo membership car (though children's museum works, too), and some sort of evening amusement.

Sunday at 8:47am

SB
wonders how I could have ever doubted that these parents would have benddy straws!?!? These are not ordinary parents; they are amazing parents! And the Bean's needs for all things are clearly met. (Malow would suggest that benddy straws, like ...excrection, food, water, and sleep are fundamental to human survival.) Now, I wonder how I could have failed to spot them behind the splenda...
Sun at 8:47am ·

SB
And, of course, kiddo in my care is well... Hey, that whole eating-paint-chips-is-bad-for-you thing is a myth put forward by the non-lead based paint marketing teams, right? After I spread some peanut butter on the wall, she said it really improved the texture issues.
Sun at 8:54am

DYV
You are SO bad - but I love you anyway <:) Sun at 9:11am
SB
Forget anyway. You love me BECAUSE of how bad I am!
Sun at 9:13am

KJF
yay bendy staws! they make a kids life complete:)
Sun at 9:14am

DYV
True...
Sun at 9:15am

DYV
Are you still planning a NW visit soon, I hope????
Sun at 9:16am

TA
chunky or creamy peanut butter? :p
Sun at 9:36am

SB
KJF- forget the kidos, I require them for a complete life. DYV- looks like Thanksgiving week for a bit :)TA- crunchy, of course!All- I should note that these partents accomodate MY playtime needs to the extent that there is a swing on the swing set adjusted to my height requirements! I should have never doubted thw presence of bendy straws!
Sun at 10:21am

SB
BWF- if you read this, please note you arte not the coolest playhouse anymore. You need a swing set!
Sun at 10:22am

Mommy aka ME
I am sitting here at breakfast, laughing my ass off! Love you!
Sun at 10:30am · Delete

Mommy aka ME
And the bend straws were completely bought with daquiris in mind!
Sun at 10:31am · Delete

SB
See! Told you they spoil me rotten out here! I mean look out for my primary needs...
Sun at 10:33am

MLM
Malow=Maslow?
Sun at 1:19pm

SB
Typo, but yes!
Sun at 1:20pm

MLM
Yay hierarchy!
Sun at 1:21pm

VW
Enjoyed your babysitting weekend. Glad you got your bendy straws.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

So, last week was Hubby's 40th birthday and I would love to tell you that he handled it gracefully, but I don't think that would be entirely honest. Now, he didn't come home with a red sports car or some other mid-life crisis toy, but he did complain a lot about getting old. Now let me tell you, I think he looks pretty great, but that didn't help him much last week.

Originally, I had planned on throwing him a huge party that would last the whole weekend with a surprise portion happening at the House of Blues followed the next night with a balcony on Bourbon Street with a band and lots of food. Well, right before I signed the contracts for Wes-Fest '09, he somehow caught wind of it and let me know that he really wouldn't be comfortable with such an extravaganza (he doesn't really like people to fuss over him). So, I pouted for a couple of days and then decided that it wasn't about me, it was about what he wanted (plus, I got the brownie points for planning the event without actually having to follow-through with the work).

Anyhow, what Hubby wanted was a trip to Chicago to see his buddies that he hadn't seen in ages. So, off we went this weekend! We were met there by his friend from New York and his Swedish fiance (NYC & the Swede). We were all staying at the Dana Hotel & Spa which was really cool. The rooms were a little small, but very chic and had the bonus of a little balcony. The biggest plus of the place was the spa and we all had massages scheduled! The guys got theirs on Saturday morning, the Swede and I waited until Sunday.

Friday afternoon when we got there, the first priority was finding something to eat! We made our way over to Lou Malnati's for some deep dish and were so fat and happy afterwards. God, I love melty, cheesy goodness. After that, we definitely needed a walk to work off the pizza, so we started walking toward the river and from there to the lake. I think we probably walked a good two or three miles. Then we found a little bar with some outdoor seating right on the river for some Irish coffee and lots of laughs. I haven't laughed as much in a while as I did over the course of this weekend. The Swede and I get along so well and she has the most amazing sense of humor, I am so thrilled that NYC is going to marry her. (Plus, they're getting hitched in Sweden, so I'll get to head over there for at least a week next summer)

After a while, we decided to head back to the hotel for showers and a little rest before heading out to dinner to meet up with a couple more friends. Dinner was at the Kinzie Chop House and we met up with Newbie and Mrs. Newbie, who live in Chicago and T-Sum who calls Dallas home. Dinner was phenominal and again, we were laughing our asses off the whole meal. It's great when you get a group of people who all get along so well together. No awkward silences for us. I think the only time we were quiet was when our mouths were stuffed.

Following dinner we headed out to one of Hubby's favorite old hangouts, Delilah. It was pretty much a dive bar, with great atmosphere and we continued to have a great time. Another friend met up with us, we'll call him Nugent because he looks just like Ted! There were a couple of other people with us as well, but NYC, Newbie, T-Sum and Nugent were pretty much Hubby's closest friends when he was in Chi-Town, so I think they're the only ones I'm going to bother making up nicknames for. We stayed there talking and drinking until last call (2:00am) and again, we had a blast. It was great not having to worry about whether or not we were going to have to get up early in the morning and take care of Bean. My friend, Sugar Britches (SB, nickname from the Vegas trip) was taking care of her for the weekend, how awesome is that?! I think I'm going to have to dedicate an entire post to her Facebook status updates, they were hysterical!

In spite of not "having" to get up early, for some reason we were both up by 8:00 the next morning. Uggh, I hate the internal alarm clock that happens when you have kids! Well, we had a great breakfast at the hotel, and then Hubby made his way to the spa and I ventured off with the Swede to Michigan Avenue to buy presents for SB and Bean. I also introduced the Swede to the joys of Ghiradelli, I think she shall love me forever!

That afternoon, we gathered up the boys and headed over to an event that the Newbies had put together, a smoked rib cookoff. Yum-E! It was held at a really cool bar called Moonshine, and they had one of the ribs that we voted for. Really good stuff! My kind of event, going around sampling ribs from 13 different teams and drinking beer! Plus, I got to meet Newbie Jr. who is 18 months old and absolutely adorable. I had lots of fun playing with that little boy!

After many ribs and much beer, we decided to go back to our rooms, so we could rest up a little before going out. Plus, I really wanted to catch a little college football. My Gators and Tigers both did great! The guys went and grabbed a little dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, but I grabbed a bite from the Whole Foods around the corner and stayed in the room to watch a little more ball. I gotta tell you, I was pretty tired! I'm definitely not accustomed to going out more than one night in a row with day-drinking thrown in. So, that night when it was time to go out, I wasn't terribly excited about it, but was happy to know that I would be making it back to the hotel early (we had promised the boys they could have guys' night).

We met up with everyone at the Matchbox, so named because the place is tiny. There was no place inside for all of us to sit and talk, so we grabbed a table outside and I was introduced to a gimlet. Yummy, yummy! It's basically like a key lime martini, with powdered sugar around the rim of the glass. So good! We were pretty much the same group as the night before with the addition of MW (Music Writer), who is best friends with Nugent. She was really nice, but I think a bit dissappointed in the rest of the girls when we headed home early. I had to go, though, I was just so beat! Plus, I wanted to be able to enjoy my massage the next morning. I'm glad I didn't decide to hang with the guys because Hubby made it back to the hotel around 6:30 in the morning and NYC didn't make it until after 8:30!

The massage was definitely the best way to end an already great trip. I was so relaxed when we got home and it was awesome seeing my Bean. SB did a great job taking care of her and even did a little housework for me while we were gone. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have such amazing friends? Hubby was also recharged during this trip from being around his closest friends. I think sometimes the stress of work can get to him and being around people who can totally distract him for a little while is a great thing!

I know I need to post some pics, but I haven't downloaded them yet. I'll try and get them up soon!

Does anyone even come in here to check on me any more?

Or did you guys pretty much assume that I had finally lost my grip on the edge of the earth and fallen off?

Well, I'm still here and I cannot believe it's been over a month since I've bothered to write any thing. There have been so many times that I've been doing something and started my post in my head, but when it comes down to actually sitting down at my computer, well, apparently that's just a little bit too big of a commitment for me.

We've had a pretty good past month here at Casa Sarah. We've had a couple of get togethers around the house, one a cookout to basically kiss the summer goodbye. I love when an afternoon cookout morphs into something completely different and the last of your guests don't leave until well after midnight! (Oh wait, we had people not leave until the next morning this time!) I think that just shows that folks are really comfortable at our house and that makes me really happy. The other one was supposed to be a girls' day by the pool, but thanks to some rotten weather, it changed into us sitting around drinking daquiris, eating melty-cheesey goodness and watching really bad movies. Such a great time! I neglected my girlfriends for a while after I got married and had Bean, but I'm so glad that I'm reconnecting with this incredible group of women.

Also in the past month, Bean and I took a little trip up to Louisville to see my best friend in the whole-wide-world! Unfortunately we don't get to see her nearly often enough (in fact, it had been over a year between visits this time), but when we get together, it's like no time has past at all. This trip was also a great chance to talk about her upcoming nuptuals! I'm super-excited that she has found such a wonderful guy to spend her life with and that I get to be her matron of honor! Also, Bean is going to be her flower girl! I can't wait to see how cute she's going to look in her little dress. I think it's pretty funny that my friend has no real idea about what she's going to wear for the wedding, but she's already got Bean's outfit picked! Of course, this just means we have to get together again at the beginning of December so we can go wedding dress shopping!

Bean wasn't the best behaved kid during the trip to Kentucky. She seems to be going through a phase and testing all of her boundaries. She has been throwing some pretty major temper tantrums. In fact, one of them lasted about two hours while we were at BFWWW's (Best Friend in the Whole Wide World) house. Fortunately, she's pretty understanding about such things and helped me power through instead of just caving and letting the monkey get her way.

Once we got home from Kentucky, things didn't improve too much for a week or two. Tantrums became a daily occurence and my tactic has been a combination of time-outs and just flat out ignoring her. She seems to be looking for a reaction from me and when I don't give her that reaction, she gets fed up and quits. The biggest face off right now is over me waiting on her hand and foot. She wants me to come upstairs and get her after her naps even though she is more than capable of coming downstairs. I don't mind getting her if she asks me nicely, but she's been DEMANDING that I do what she wants, and I'm just not having that. It was pretty funny one afternoon, she started throwing her hissy fit and refused to get out of her bed unless I carried her "like a baby". This started around 4:00 in the afternoon and lasted until about 6:45 when she finally gave up, apologized for her screaming and came downstairs for her dinner. Well, by the time she got finished with dinner, it was time for a bath and bed. Ooops, she wasted an entire afternoon that she could have been playing!

She has started figuring out that she is going to have a lot more success getting what she wants by being sweet than by screaming her head off, so I hope we've turned a corner and are on our way to my sweet little girl back.

Let's see, what else has been going on this past month? Well, last week I got to go to a very fun event up of the North Shore. Which was a return to McNeedles for Pam's one year anniversary of the opening of the shop. She's been having a sale all month and it culminated with a bit of a party on Wednesday. She had food and even brought in a masseuse to give out 15 minute massages to her guests. I was only planning on popping up for a little while, but ended up staying for about three hours. I had such a great time and really enjoyed getting to spend time with the other women that were up there. As a little bonus treat, there was a yarn rep there as well and he dumped out an ENORMOUS pile of Claudia yarns on the table to Pam to peruse. I really wish I had my camera with me that day, it was so pretty!

I did my best to stimulate the economy in the store that day and came home with some really beautiful yarns. Of course, I'm thinking once again that some grounding is in order, I've been a bit over the top with my purchases again. Oh well, I'll think about that tomorrow, right?

I have one last thing to tell you about from the last month, but it's gonna have to wait for now. It's time to cook dinner!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And now for a good cause...

Today I'm hijacking a post from the KnitWitch, Brittany, because I think she's bringing a really good cause to our notice. As you guys know, I love Brittany's yarns and online store, but I also love the fact that she and her husband are really great people who are genuinely concerned for people, animals and our planet. If you don't already read her blog, I definitely recommend it. She always has beautiful pictures, stories of outdoor adventures and really cool details of their renovation of an old house in the woods! I'm just going to cut and paste her post from today, so if you skip ahead and get confused about why I keep referring to "Wayne", well, that's your problem! :-)
Oh, and I'm going to start typing again after the picture of the Morning Glory, so you have to read all the way to the bottom!

So here goes:


Water

Do you ever think about it? For the most part, we never really have to. We turn on our taps or water hoses, flush the toilet, run the dishwasher, wash clothes and there it is - clean, drinkable water. We are so fortunate to have access to such an amazing thing yet many of us never give it a second thought unless we are without it for some reason.

Here are some interesting facts for you:

- 1.1 billion people in the world have no access to clean water (that's 1 in 6 people).
- If we divided all the freshwater among all the people we could allot about 2.5 gallons/person/day. The average person in the US currently uses 300-400 gallons/day.
- Our planet is 70% water - of that 70%, 97.5% of that is saltwater leaving us to divide the remaining 2.5% of freshwater.
- Many communities must have wells in order to access underground aquifers for clean water
- Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
- Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault.
- Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.

Wayne and I have been struggling and looking for a charity to support with Knit Witch. We want to support something that is worthwhile, does good, is necessary and has a reputable mission and goal. There are so many things that we are passionate about that we will probably end up supporting different organizations in different ways. But, no matter what we think about, it all comes back to one thing - water. You have to have water to do anything so that is where we have decided to start. We already run BRAEA and Smaller Footprint and we do work for our local Humane Society so we are reaching out a little more globally this time.

This morning, Knit Witch donated $50 to Charity: Water. I know that isn't a whole lot but it is enough to give 2 people in Africa clean drinking water for 20 years. Here's why we have decided to support this charity:
- Water is the basis for all life as we know it and necessary to support hygienic conditions, medical aid, growing food, raising animals, environmental issues, human rights issues, animals rights issues - pretty much everything.
- This charity uses 100% of donations for their field work as their administrative costs are funded by other means. If you donate, even the paypal fee is funded via their private donor money specifically used for administrative costs - therefore 100% of your money actually goes to building clean water sources. You can read more about this HERE.
- This non-profit works to support other non-profits already working in the field. In other words, they use resources that already exist, organizations who are already familiar with the people, the needs and the language and they work to support people who are passionate about helping others - information on this is HERE
- They have amazing documentation of their work HERE
- They have great information about their organization and their mission HERE

So, why am I telling you all of this? Because I know that knitters are a generous, caring bunch of people. No one knows better that great things are built one little step at a time repeated over and over and over again. The Yarn Harlot supports Doctors Without Borders - another wonderful organization that provides another thing that I am passionate about - health care for those who need it. She has inspired me to give to this cause as I am sure many of you have done as well. Charity: Water gives us knitters another way to make the world a better place.

Knit Witch's Goal = $5,000 - don't you think we can achieve this in order to provide clean drinking water for 500 underprivileged people? I do. I started it off with $50. I don't care if you donate $5 or $500 - whatever you can afford helps. If you skip your morning Starbucks coffee tomorrow you can send that $5 as a donation instead. Send me an email to theknitwitch@gmail.com and let me know how much you donated so that I can keep track of our total - or - you can leave a comment on the blog. I'm keeping track of the progress over on the right hand side of the blog.

Everyone who donates will be entered in a drawing and we will draw some names for prizes. The first drawing will be on October 1st and I'll let you know the prize when I figure it out. If you blog about what we are doing and link to this post I'll give you an extra entry into the pot. Just email me and let me know that you did it - theknitwitch@gmail.com.

Let's do this. Let's make a difference in the world around us. Let's make a difference in the life of someone who is less fortunate than ourselves. Let's share our resources. Let's show the world that knitters are the most amazing group of people in the world who can come together to create good in the world.

Here is a picture that I took in our garden yesterday morning. This beautiful flower certainly wouldn't be here without life sustaining water............

Now back to Sarah:

I gotta say, I think this is an amazing cause. It's something that I really haven't thought about until now, but seriously, think about how blessed we are to have such a valuable resource so available to us that we don't even think about it! I matched Brittany and Wayne's donation this morning and hope that you will add to that amount if you are able. Even a couple of bucks helps! Let's help Brittany blow her goal of $5000 out of the water!

On a selfish note: If you are not a knitter or have no interest in a fiber related prize, how 'bout you let the KnitWitch know that your entry is in my name? Just sayin'....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obsess Much?






Okay, I know I promised like a week ago to catch up my blog on all that has been happening lately, but I guess I must've lied....

I do have a good reason for neglecting this promise and it's name is Sage Remedy Top. I cast on last Thursday and wove in the last end yesterday. I think it's definitely a new record for completing an entire sweater for me, but it was definitely a fun knit with the feather and fan lace inserts! These pictures are really bad, but it's nighttime and the light kinda sucks. I'll try and get a better photo tomorrow.
But, I do owe some stories, don't I?

Ravelry Meet-Up

A couple of months ago, I met Asappa on Ravelry when she posted on the New Orleans Forum that she would be visiting New Orleans in August and was wondering about the local yarn shops. I wrote her back and after a little communication, we decided that I would take her up to the Northshore for a special viewing of a yarn shop that is owned by the lovely, Pam, who I met in Atlanta at the Stitches conference, but had yet to check out her shop, McNeedles.

The day we selected to meet up, Bean and I went to her hotel and picked her up. She was a real sweet person and even came with gifts, which included a handknit kitty for Bean! After a yummy lunch at Johnny's po-boys in the Quarter, we headed out to the shop. It's about a 45 minute drive and I was a little nervous about taking a road trip with a random stranger. I shouldn't have, Asappa was lovely and we chit-chatted the entire way.

Upon locating the store, Pam came hobbling out to greet us. Poor thing came and opened the store specially for us while recovering from knee surgery! And I'm so glad she did! Her store had a great selection and I bought a ton of yarn! She also has an online store, so you should definitely go and check it out.

Meeting up with a complete stranger is not something I would normally do, and neither would she, but I'm so glad I decided to step out of my normal comfort zone this once to meet a new friend and find a great new source for fibery goodness!
VEGAS!!!

A couple of days after meeting up with Asappa, I headed out to Vegas on a girls' trip. This was only my second time leaving Bean for any amount of time (the other was my trip to Atlanta) and it was the first time that I had left her with Hubby in charge!

The trip was so much fun! We had five of us staying in a two bedroom suite at the Palms. Drinking began early, with us starting on the plane out there around 8:30 in the morning. The flight was a blast and the flight attendant was even mixing shots for us! (He also only charged us about 1/5 of what the drinks should have actually cost!)

When we got to our hotel, we quickly ordered room service and then headed off to the pool. It was super-windy that day and ours was the only pool in Vegas that hadn't been shut down. I will admit, it was a little wild to see white caps on a pool! The drinking continued until it was time to get ready for dinner, which was over at a sushi place at the Bellagio. The food was good, (I tried kobe beef) but certainly not plentiful. After dinner, we headed to one of the bars at the Bellagio, but by 10:30 I was struggling to stay awake! 15 hours of drinking will do that to me! So I headed back to our hotel, with two of the other girls, who shortly after that woke me up to let me know they were going back out! More power to 'em, I needed sleep!

The next morning I was up way before everyone else, so I took advantage of the gym at the hotel and got myself some breakfast. By the time I made it back and was showered, some of the others were up and we relaxed until it was time to head down to the spa. Did Imention that Hubby was the most wonderful man in the world? Well, he is! When we checked into our room, a bell hop showed up shortly thereafter bearing gifts from Hubby which included a bottle of champagne, flowers and spa treatments for each of us! I think all of the girls were in love with my husband after we were done at the spa! I got a massage and facial and felt pretty much like putty when they were done.

That afternoon, the rest of the girls headed back to the pool but I took a nap and relaxed (knit) until dinner time. I like taking it a little bit easier than most of my friends on vacation. That night we ate at Simon in our hotel and it was DELICIOUS! The topper on the meal was when they brought out a giant plate of cotton candy for dessert. I love me some spun sugar! After dinner we had planned on heading out to a nightclub at the Wynn, my friend Matt had gotten us on the guest list, but we were all feeling a bit lazy and decided to just hang out at the casino. Once again, I was the first one back in the room, but I did manage to last until about 2:00am. I have no idea what time the rest made it back.

We slept in the next morning, but headed down to the main pool at the Palms for the afternoon. One of the girls managed to talk the pool host into dropping the drink minimum for a cabana (usually about $1000) so we rented one and spent the whole afternoon lounging, drinking mango daquiris, and eating lobster rolls! That's my idea of vacation!

That night we planned on meeting up with some other girls that one of my friends knows. We grabbed a quick dinner and headed over to the Hard Rock to meet up with them. We were totally hooked up that night with a limo, VIP at Tao, and bottle service at the table. I don't even want to know what our tab looked like that night! We had a ton of fun and stayed out until about 3:30, which normally wouldn't be too big a deal, but given the fact that we had to get up at 6:30 the next morning to head to the airport, it was maybe a bit too late!

All in all, I had a great time. The women I went with were so much fun and I loved the restaurants, pool and spa. But even though I had fun at the nightclub and casino, I don't think I'm going to head back to Vegas any time soon. I'm trying to steer the next girls' trip toward a beach resort...
I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to find when I returned home, but I was pleased to see that the house was clean, the child well-cared for, and I was very missed! I do love getting lots of hugs from my two favorite people!
So, now that this post has gotten excessively long, I am going to succumb to my burning desire to start swatching for Sylvi and continue catching up on my blogging tomorrow.


Oh, Alice asked me a question on my last post: Alice, we are heading to Disney on November 5 - 11. Wish we were going to be there when you guys are, but we decided to overlap the trip with a friend's wedding.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing Catch Up Part One

I think you nearly every day, Internetz, and remind myself that I need to log on and fill you guys in on some inane moment in my day or another. Or hey, maybe not just the little silly stuff, maybe the big, fun stuff that has been going on as well. But I have been a big ole slacker lately and haven't even mailed out the prizes from my last give-away, or even sent emails that really need to go out to some friends that probably would take me all of five minutes to write, but for some reason, I just can't be prevailed upon to do it.

So, today I am making myself the goal of catching up on all the sh*t I've been neglecting lately. We'll see how that works out!
As for the blog, I have a few things I want to tell you about:
-my awesome Ravelry meet-up
-the girls' trip to VEGAS!
-our cookout last weekend
-knitting!

Blog posts are going to come out in blurbs, so if you don't want to get confused, maybe you should read them in order.

But first, I need to go feed my child. And maybe make a run to the UPS store and ship some things. Isn't that the reason I'm doing the give-aways after all? To get stuff out of my house?

Friday, July 31, 2009

On Wednesday I made a to-do list that needed to be taken care of before I was going to allow myself to do any knitting on my spiral sweater. I think I set my bar too high! Although I did get nearly everything done (the hotels for Disney are still not booked, but it's not my fault, we're still not set on exact dates for the trip), I also did not get ANY knitting done until after Bean was in bed. I also did not have any time for posting the promised yarn pictures, so I suppose I will start with those.

I don't think I've made any secret of my love of the Knit Witch's hand-dyed loveliness and she certainly did not fail to please this time. My box was stuffed with such beauty and Icouldn't be more excited to have it in my clutches!

I got three more colors from Brittany's Bridge to the Summit collection. (BTW, if you haven't voted in the sock summit indie dyer contest, go do it now!)

First is Brewtopia:


Followed by Portland Rain:



And Oregon Merlot (I think this one might be my favorite):



I also got another skein of Waters of the Willamette because I didn't want my prize skein to be lonely.

Then I got some her Celestial Cloud yarn in the Aries colorway.



And finally I picked up a little lace weight from her Mystical World line in Fire Nymph(I seem to be obsessed with lace lately, even though I haven't acutally tried it)



Although I didn't get any knitting done during the day on Wednesday, I did get a lot done after Bean went to bed that night. In fact I stayed up far too late, but got within 14 rows of completing the second sleeve on my spiral sweater before having to concede defeat (and exhaustion) and go to bed. I finished it the next morning however, and here are the pictures of my progress so far.



I'm really looking forward to Shelly's next post on working the yoke and finishing, but am also going to try and finish some WIPs while I'm waiting. I still have to do the lining and zipper on the laptop case (I hate pulling out the sewing machine).

I also still have to finish the second Pomotomus sock that I've had to rip out TWICE because I'm an idiot who can't follow instructions. In fact, I decided to start putting in a lifeline every couple of inches so that if I do make a mistake I don't have to rip out the whole stupid thing again. If you've never worked with a lifeline, it's wonderful when you're working with a complicated stitch pattern that's hard to frog. A little crochet cotton worked through the stitches of a row will save you so much frustration and it's thin enough that it won't get in your way as you continue to knit.

In not-knit-related news, today is Bean's last day in her summer day camp program. She's going to be so miserable over the next three weeks until pre-school starts! I'm already planning on taking her to the zoo, aquarium and another trip to Cocoa Beach (we're going to try one more time to catch a shuttle launch), but she seriously loves "school" and gets upset when she hasn't been for a few days. Wish me luck!

I'm also at T-minus six days until my girls' trip to Las Vegas! I absolutely cannot wait! Six of us have a three bedroom suite at the Palms for three nights. Is it a bad thing that I'm already trying to figure out what knitting project to bring with me?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Resolutions for the day....

I will not wind any new yarn for my spiral sweater until:

1. I go to the gym after dropping Bean off at school

2. I remember to mail my package for my Ravelry swap partner

3. My kitchen is clean

4. My craft room has the appearance of a floor

5. The laundry is folded

6. I've put the sheets back on the bed

7. I rember to make hotel reservations for my family (parents, brother and us) for Disney this fall. Somehow, I volunteered to be in charge, and somehow, I keep dropping the ball.

8. I photograph the stash additions, that, while not hidden from Hubby, were not exactly placed out in the open until he left for his trip this morning.

And, then, and only then, will I return to the obsession that is my spiral sweater.

Anyone think I can actually hold out?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Tuesday again, must be time to pick a winner!

Hi guys! Thank you so much for entering my contest. I really wish I had a tub of thread to send to each of you because I know in the hands of such talented folks, it will become something beautiful. But, since I think Hubby would kill me if I went out and bought enough thread to make this an actuality, I had to settle for picking just one winner. I had 43 entries for the thread and according to random.org, the winner is....drumroll please....Amy!



Competition was a little less fierce for the screen printing kit (go figure, I announced the contest on Ravelry!), and I only had nine entries. Again turning to random.org, the winner is...Lara!



So, if you guys will email me your mailing information to me, I'll get those packages out ASAP!



I'm still slowly but surely working my way through the craft room in an effort to get it a little more streamlined. And so it can hold my ever growing stash of yarn. This whole trying to control my spending by "grounding" myself has been a total and complete wasted effort. Not only did I add the koigu when my mom was here this weekend, but there's also a BUNCH of new Peaches 'n Cream cotton, along with the rest of my order from Knit Witch (which is gorgeous and I will photograph tomorrow after Hubby goes to work).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Can you have a great weekend and a really bad one all at the same time?

Apparently so, because as I look back on this one, it was equal parts fun and suck. My mom came in this weekend and that was the really good part. She hasn't gotten to see Bean in about three months (since she pulled babysitting duty so I could go to Stitches) and she was amazed at how much my little darling has grown. Bean is now holding real conversations and has quite a vocabulary, I didn't know until Saturday that she even knew what binoculars were, let alone that she could pronounce the word correctly.

On Friday, we left the house early to catch a quick breakfast at McD's before taking the munchkin to camp for the day. Mom really enjoyed getting to see the school and meeting her counselor (who it turns out will also be her teacher in the fall). Then we headed off to run some errands. Pretty mundane stuff for the most part. We hit Target to swap out a cabinet component that was dinged up, a store to buy a new part for my mom's CPAP machine (it helps with sleep apnea) and the Sephora to buy some face wash for me. Lilly decided on Thursday afternoon that my old tube of it was actually shampoo and dumped the whole thing over her head! Thank goodness it a) did not get in her eyes and b) was only a small tube, so the mess was limited.

I did, however, decide on two really fun stops for the day. The first, I wanted to go down to the Quarter Stitch and show off my progress on the Spiral Sweater. I had purchased my yarn there and she had asked me to keep her posted on my progress. Well, when we got down to the store, we were about 30 minutes early for their opening. So, we hit the little bar next door to grab a couple of bottles of water and use the "facilities". After chatting with the very friendly, and bored bartender, we were convinced to try her specialty Orange-cicle Martinis (yes, I know, martinis before 11:00 in the morning!), but they were so yummy! So, with a light buzz and lots of giggles, we returned to the knit shop. Oh, not a good idea! I left the store with heaps of praise from the owner on the sweater and also enough blue koigu to make another one and some black alpaca to boot! Oops, didn't quite mean to spend that much money, but hey, I'm helping the economy....right? C'mon though, could you have resisted this color? (The picture doesn't totally do it justice, the color is a little deeper in "real life")


After our stop at the Quarter Stitch, we headed uptown to one of my new favorite spots, the St. James Cheese Company, in the Garden District. Oh my god, is it every yummy. We got a seven cheese plate, BLT (made with crispy Serrano ham and goat cheese instead of mayo) and a bottle of sparkling lemonade with grapefruit essence. I'm always so happy when I leave that place! It's probably good that it's so far from my house though (we live about 30 minutes from New Orleans), because otherwise I would soon be the size of a house!

To wrap up our very good day, we picked up Bean from school and headed home so Mom could take a nap. Bean watched a few cartoons and I started working on the first sleeve for my sweater. Great afternoon! Unfortunately, this is where the weekend starts to take its downturn.

Around 3:00am Saturday morning, I opened my eyes to see my darling little girl standing in front of me. I would usually make her go back to her own bed, but didn't really feel like fighting with her since she was sleeping in a room right next to my mom's and since Hubby was out of town this weekend, there was plenty of room for her in my bed. Unfortunately, she just wasn't really in the mood for sleep and I spent the next three and a half hours trying to convince her that she really did want to. Needless to say, we were both tired and cranky the next morning. Fortunately for me though, my mom was more than content to just hang out around the house with us and have a quiet day. At first, I chalked up the little one's crotchety-ness to lack of sleep, but realized after a little while that she was also running a bit of a fever. Now you know how fevers scare me after the kidney troubles we've had with the poor kid, but she seemed to respond well to Tylenol, was drinking plenty of fluids and didn't seem to be in any pain when she used the bathroom, so I decided not to freak out. She was crying a lot, but again, that's pretty normal when she doesn't feel well.

That night, I was again blessed with a middle of the night visitor. I checked her temperature (102.3), gave her some more Tylenol and a sippy cup of water and let her curl up in the bed with me again. Fortunately, she went right back to sleep and we both slept in until around 8:00 the next morning. And that's when the gastro-intestinal portion of the weekend kicked in. I will spare you the details, but carpet cleaner was involved. By noon though, all seemed to be on the upswing. Mom headed back to Florida. Bean took a long nap and I got to watch the Brickyard 400. Hubby made it home right after the race and the little one was feeling a lot better. We played for the rest of the afternoon around the living room and all-in-all had a really fun night.

So, now I'm sitting here in my lovely, quiet house. I have housework I need to do, but I think I'm just going to sit for a minute and enjoy the quiet.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gratitude

I'm so happy about the response I've gotten regarding my give-aways. I'm going to keep it going for a few more days, but check back on Tuesday for the winners.



I've also really enjoyed the compliments about my laptop cover. As much as I might say that I don't go out seeking compliments, I can't help but enjoy them when they come my way. What can I say, I'm human.



Thank you to Rochard for the request to see some of my Nanny's projects and her picture, it was so comforting to write about her last night. I've really enjoyed reading the feedback about her projects. She would've been embarrassed, but secretly, she would have eaten it up. Thank you.


A few people asked where I got the pattern for the cover. It's from Knit Picks and is the Aguona pattern. They used to sell it as a kit, but now you can only buy the pattern. If you decided to buy their yarn to work it up, buy two balls each of the red and maroon, even though they only say that you need one. I ran out of each about six rows shy of finishing their respective sections. This was my first foray into fair isle knitting and I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to doing another colorwork pattern soon!


So, I told you last night that I was going to show you my two "Nanny-inspired" afghans and so I shall, but first, there's one more quilt I want to show you. I'd forgotten about it yesterday when I was running around the house looking for things of hers to photograph. She made me this when I was probably about five or six years old and I slept with it on my bed until I married my husband. Would've kept using it, but it's only a double size and for some reason, Hubby doesn't want to sleep in a bed that small. Go figure, we're both six feet tall!


I made this next afghan in the few weeks following my grandmother's death. Those of you that know me have seen how I can become a little obsessive with projects. Well, it gets worse when I'm really sad about something. This one was inspired by a WIP I found in Nanny's things, but couldn't find the yarn for in her stash. I wrote down the pattern as best as I could figure it and went out to find yarn right after I got home from her funeral. It turned out huge and is so wonderful to cuddle under in the winter. Makes me think of her all the time.




This other one, I made for her and my grandfather one of the last Christmases that we still had her. I wanted to show her what I could do with the skills she had taught me. It stayed on her couch until she died when my grandfather sent it home to me. It broke my heart when he gave it back because I had made it for him as well, but he explained to me that he wanted to make sure that I had it because of all the work that had gone into it and knew that it would be better taken care of at my house than at his where my young cousins were frequent visitors.

So, now I'm going to sign off and hang out with my mom who came to visit me and Bean today. I've had fun showing her some of the same projects I've been sharing with you guys lately.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Grandmother (aka Nanny)

I had a request via the entries to the give-away to show some of the projects that my grandmother, who I called Nanny, made and show you a picture of her. Gladly will I comply with such a request!

My grandmother was such a great person. She was fiercely loving of her family, an amazing cook and probably the most talented crafter I have ever encountered. She could make anything that she put her mind to, yet still somehow thought that she wasn't good at anything. I think she must have had a very hard childhood to have such a view of herself and her gifts. I really miss going up to visit her and my Papa. No matter what hour we arrived, she would be waiting with a huge pot of potato soup simmering away on the stove. Egad, I miss her cooking! Food certainly equaled love in her house and she sure did love us!

Nanny did a variety of crafts and when she passed away, I took the job of going through her incredible stash of supplies. I will say, she was a bit of a packrat and if she saw something that she thought she could make something out of, it found it's way into the stash. The task took two or three days and often through the project I would pause and try to figure out what she had intended for a particular item or to marvel about a WIP (Work in Progress) that would never be completed. I'm so glad that I was allowed to be the one to do this, it was very cathartic for me. I brought home boxes upon boxes of yarn, supplies, patterns, books, etc.
Nanny taught me how to crochet at a very young age and I have been in love with yarn ever since. She never learned how to knit, claiming it was too difficult for her, but I know, had she tried, she could've made the most beautiful of things. Here are some examples of her crocheting:


This first one is an afghan she made for me as a child. I'm looking forward to Bean getting her "big girl" bed, so she will get to use it, too.


This is a king-sized (!) bedspread out of crochet cotton. It was made for my aunt and uncle and when they split, it somehow came to me. I am immensely grateful for that fact. I am not close with my cousins and am certain that none of them would appreciate the labor that went into that spread.


Here are some dolls that Nanny made for me when I was little. My mom is bringing them over tomorrow for Bean. I hope she likes them!


Nanny was also incredibly talented with a needle and thread and made beautiful quilts.

This one she made for me and it is king-sized. When my brother got engaged, she gave him a king-sized quilt, I asked her when I would be getting one. She responded that it would be when I got engaged. Imagine my surprise when two months later for Christmas, I got this beauty. My mom said the day I asked her for one, she dropped all her other projects and got to work on it. I'm so glad she relented about her "engagement rule" for me because, unfortunately, she did not live to see me and Hubby get engaged or married. Just a note, Nanny always pieced her quilts on a machine, but she quilted them by hand. Pretty impressive for a lady who suffered extremely painful arthritis!


This is the Lone Star quilt that has been on my parents' bed for years.


And the Yo Yo quilt. Also king sized. I'm pretty sure I contributed some of the stitching on these yo yos, and speaking from experience, that is one time consuming project. She also made pillow shams and used some yo yos to embellish Mom and Dad's curtain sashes.


And the last quilt she made. Mom found it in her things. It was just the top and Mom had it quilted. My mother has inherited my Nanny's skills as a quilter, but she doesn't do the quilting by hand. She's like me, she hates the "finishing"!



Lest you think that Nanny was limited to just two types of crafting, here are a couple of her other projects.

These are Time Out Babies. They are wearing clothes that were mine and my brother's when we were little. The little girl carries the kewpie doll that my grandfather brought to me in the hospital when I was born. The little boy is wearing a flight suit because my dad was a flight surgeon when my brother was little.


And this is the family portrait Nanny made. Remember, this woman suffered greatly from arthritis, yet she took tiny scissors and cut out each and every picture.



Here's me! (I'm the kid in the red hat, and the first communion dress, and I hate to say it, the one with the enormous glasses and pumpkin)



And my Nanny and Papa!


And here's the lady herself. She who passed on to me the crafting gene. She who created the great need in me for "stash". I hope my grandchildren will love me as much as I love her. And I hope someday to master her potato soup...



Tomorrow, I will show you the two afghans that I made that were inspired by her. For now, goodnight and thank you for letting me share my Nanny with you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Tuesday! Knitting, Yarn and Another Give-Away!

I've been knitting! I've been excited about it! Finally I have some semi-finished objects to show you. Well, one is semi-finished. It's the laptop cover that I started a couple of months ago. I got the yarn in that I needed to finish it a while ago, but was in my slump, and then distracted by a shiny new project. But I picked it up a few days ago and hammered out the knitting portion. I was little worried about how it was going to look as it was puckering a bit (my fair-isle skills need a little work still), but it blocked out really well and I'm looking forward to sewing the steeks, zipper and lining. The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but I'm going to put one in anyway to keep the floats from getting snagged when I put the computer in.





I've also been working on my spiral sweater for Shelly's knit-along. I still think she is brilliant for coming up with this pattern and so thrilled that she's sharing the pattern with all of us. I am eagerly awaiting the instructions for the next step! I tried to take pictures, but it's hard to capture exactly how beautifully the lace is working up in the Koigu.

The other WIP I have right now is my Pomatomus socks. I have one done and have turned the heel on the second. I'm loving the pattern and think I will make another pair after this. Perhaps in the lovely Mardi Gras yarn (Rav link) my friend, Kelly gave me. Hmm....

What else? Well, last week was a really good yarn week at Chez Sarah. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be grounded, but in my defense, four skeins were part of sock clubs that I subscribed to prior to my grounding. And one skein I won in a contest by Knit Witch for helping her name one of her entries into the Sock Summit dying contest. And the other two, well, I couldn't make her send me just one skein, right? That would be a waste of postage! So, I ordered several skeins, but she only had two ready as of shipping time. (read: excitement, there's more yarn to follow!) I love Brittany's yarn, she dyes it all herself and it's soft and skooshy and so much fun. She dyed the Tulane yarn that I told you guys about a while back. I still haven't made anything with it, but I did give a skein to one of my friends this past weekend and she was just as pleased with it as I am.


These first three are from my Robyn's Nest sock club. She sent out three months worth since so many people are going to be traveling over the summer and might want to bring their yarn with them.







This one is from my Rockin' Sock Club membership. I love the colors, but am not crazy about the pattern that came with it (pretty, but not my style. Shh, don't tell!), so I think I'm going to use it for a different pair, I just haven't figured out which one yet.



This is Waters of the Willamette from the Sock Summit contest. It's so pretty, I don't think the picture does it justice. I'll have another skein coming in my upcoming order.


And, for all that yarn, this is the only one that I actually purchased this week. It's called Hail to the Redskins, but I got it to make a pair of socks for one of my friends who graduated from FSU. I'm hoping I can convince Brittany to dye some University of Florida yarn soon. I already have some LSU yarn that she made, too, so I think that will take care of all my schools.



What else? Oh, I got two really cute project bags and some stitch markers from Gritty Knits. The bags are just the perfect size for sock projects, and although I really didn't need them or the stitch markers for that matter, I couldn't resist. Plus, her prices are really great and she shipped the out super-quick.

And, if you've toughed it out through this whole post, it's time for another give-away. Actually, I have two prizes this time. You can let me know which one you would prefer, or you can enter for both. But if you win one, I won't pick you to win the other. I want to spread the wealth. :-)

The first prize is a screen printing kit that I have had for ages. I have no idea if the ink is even any good anymore or not, but I'm guessing the screens don't go bad. I kinda want to keep it, but given the fact that I have yet to even try and use this, I think it's best to send it to someone else who may actually enjoy it.


The other prize is a tub of crochet cotton. I got this when my grandmother passed away. She used it to make really cute little snowflakes for Christmas. She also made beautiful doilies and tablecloths. I've worked with the tiny cotton on a few projects, and although I love the results, I don't see myself using it again for a while. If you win, I'll also send the patterns my grandmother had to go with them. She only had photocopies, but they're yours if you win them.










ETA - Grr, the curse of the yarn has returned, I had to frog the second sock because I failed to read the chart correctly.

ETA2 - The contest will be open between now and July 28th when I will select a winner.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm home!

So, I've just gotten back from a wonderful weekend trip over to Cocoa Beach, Florida and thought I'd sit down to say "hi" to everyone. I know I've been a piss-poor blogger.

To start out with a little business: Robyn, you are going to be the recipient of the cross-stitch towels and pot-holders. I'm glad they will go to a home where they will be used instead of sitting in a storage box like they have at mine.

I should have another give-away later this week. Yes, I am using the internet to clean out my closet, but I'm hoping that I'm giving away things that you guys might like. I also have a big pile of stuff that's going to Goodwill. (And an even bigger one that's staying here!)

Back to the trip, which was so much fun. We headed out on Thursday afternoon to Cocoa Beach to spend the weekend playing in the surf and sand, and also to catch the shuttle launch that was scheduled for Saturday night. We stayed at one of our favorite little hotels, the Inn at Cocoa Beach. It's an old 1960's hotel that has been renovated by its owners to have the feel of a B&B. The lobby is more like a living room, they have dogs and parrots. In the evening, there is a wine and cheese hour and in the morning you get the most delicious breakfast including homemade muffins and bread, fruit salad, and boil-your-own egg station as well as bagels, toast and english muffins. The whole place has a really great "retreat" vibe to it. In fact, they were a little leary when we told them we were bringing our little Bean. She charmed the socks off of all of them while we were there, though.

Friday, Wes had a meeting in the morning, so Lilly and I tried to occupy ourselves in the room and then ventured out to find a local yarn shop that I had found online. Unfortunately, the place was closed, the owner has apparently been in a really bad car accident and has been unable to run the place. It really is a shame, the store looked very cute and I'm sure it's creating quite a financial burden for her.

Anyhow, that afternoon, we promised Lilly that we would take her out to the beach after her nap time. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and five minutes after we got down there a big storm blew up and we had to abandon the sand. She was less than pleased, but we made up for it the next day and spent the greater part of the day building castles and frolicking in the surf. She had a blast and we had to drag her away to get her to take her nap that afternoon.

As for me, I took advatage of the naps to sit on the very large deck our room had, knit and listen to a Jane Austen novel on my iPod. I got a lot of work done on my Spiral Sweater and will hopefully get some pictures of my progress up for you soon.

The shuttle launch for Saturday was delayed because of lightning strikes from the big storm the day before (the one that messed up Lilly's beach time), so we decided to delay our return home to try and catch it on Sunday. We were assured that the possibility of launch was really good and the day was beautiful. We played a lot in the pool and one of my dear friends from high school came and met up with us for lunch and to wait for the launch with her husband. We had a really fun afternoon on the deck, drinking beer and yucking it up, sure we would soon witness the shuttle rocketing into the sky. Alas, it was not to be. Twenty minutes before launch time a storm blew into the area and the launch was delayed yet again. Boo! (Just checked the news, it was delayed again today, glad we didn't try and wait it out)

All in all, it was a really fun trip. Lilly was a really good girl and such a good traveller. She's pretty used to planes and enjoys getting to be around all the people, so that makes life for us a lot easier when we decide to go places. I am glad to be home though and looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs to see what I missed while I was gone.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A new give-away

My newest project is trying to clean out my craft room. This will be a long, drawn out process. #1 - because there is so much stuff in there and #2 -because some of the things were inherited from my mom or grandmom and they are hard to part with. But, that being said, I do have to start getting rid of some things that I will honestly probably never use. I would rather see things go to someone who will use them, so now we have a new give-away.


This week's prize comes to us from the cross stitching world. I have five potholders and around 16 dishclothes that have the panels on the front for personalization via stitching. Most of them are tan, but one of the potholders is cream, two of the dishcloths are blue and two more are black.

If you or someone you know is a cross stitcher and will use these, please post a comment and I will at some point in the next week or so pick a random person to send them to.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Belated Happy Fourth!

I must say, it was a pretty darn good weekend. It started off on Friday with my new carpet being installed in my living room. I am super excited! When we first bought the house and carried out the extensive renovations, my hubby picked out some lovely white carpet for the house, but incredibly impractical given we were planning on having children. Even before Bean came along, though, the carpet in there was looking pretty rough. We used to eat every night in front of the TV and, God love him, Hubby is incapable of eating any kind of spaghetti sauce without spilling some! Then when the baby came along, things just went from bad to worse. We have stopped eating our meals in there, but the damage was done.


So, a couple of weeks ago I decided that we would be getting Stainmaster carpet in that room. Even if we don't eat in there, Bean usually has juice with her, and even in a sippy cup or juice box, there's no certainty that there won't be spills. And, she has an uncanny knack for knocking over sodas! We also decided to go with a darker color to hide any stains that might happen. We were both worried about the carpet messing up the "feel" of the room, but figured we could always go back to white later. How wrong we were! I LOVE my new carpet and think the darker tan just makes the whole room look so much warmer and more inviting! Plus it is super soft, so I just want to roll around on the floor!


We haven't done a whole heck of a lot for the rest of the weekend. I did get a sock made out of the yarn I was complaining about in my last post. I used Cookie A's Pomatomus pattern and love the effect. I think the colors are just perfect for the fish-scale pattern. I shortened the leg of the sock by one pattern repeat to compensate for the extra length I would need for my massive, size 11 feet, but think it looks really nice. I'm still on the leg for the second sock, but have put it aside in favor of another project for right now.


The new project is a knit along for the amazing and talented Shelly's Spiral Sweater. It's just such an innovative pattern that I had to take part. Shelly spun the yarn for her first sweater herself, which makes her even cooler in my book. I've never tried spinning and am afraid to do so given my addictive nature, but I think the people who do it are pretty darn nifty!

I've just about finished up my swatch for the sweater, and the best part is that it will become the beginning of the spiral. I always hate swatching because it seems like such a waste of time to make something and block it even though it won't even be part of the finished project.

Here's what the swatch looked like pre-blocking:


And here's what it looks like while being blocked:

I like this simple lace pattern. By the time I got done with the increases, I already had the repeat memorized and can really zip through it. I'm using Koigu Handpainted yarn and the colors are just delicious. Can't wait to keep going! Bring on Assignment #3, Shelly!